Disaster for German chancellor Merkel as coalition deal in doubt

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is facing her biggest political challenge after 12 years in the job.

Mrs Merkel has yet to form an official government following the September federal election. She has been forced to plead with opposition parties to join her own in order to form a coalition.

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Angela Merkel. Photograph: Google

Failure to establish a 4-part-coalition government will result in fresh elections taking place in the central-European state. So far, she has failed to come to an agreement with any of them with elections look likely.

Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has turned to its Bavarian sister party, The Christian Social Union (CSU), the centre-right party FDP and the ultra-left Green Party.

The FPD party was the last to walk out of negotiations with the Chancellor. Its leader, Christian Lindner, revealed that all parties involved are conflicted on significant areas of society, including immigration.

The CDU caused a furious row amongst German politicians with their 2015 open-door-policy during the peak of the migrant crisis. More recently, the party-in-government struck a deal with the CSU to limit the number of refugees to 200,000 annually. The deal is thought to be a plug to entice Merkel’s traditional right-wing voters to stay loyal to her party.

However, the compromise has not been enough for the FDP party who are at heads with the government over their family unification policy. The Greens believe the CDU have gone too far and labelled the cap as an ‘arbitrary number’. On the other hand, the FDP continues to log heads with Mrs Merkel and her somewhat liberal views on the matter.

As the parties cannot agree, elections are looking likely. Any votes will go ahead in the next few months. Until then, Angela Markel’s job will continue to hang in the balance.


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Scottish Electoral Board inquiry begins

A Holyrood inquiry has been launched following concerns regarding bonuses for Chief Executives during election periods.

For a number of years Election Chiefs have received extra payment for running elections, a task which many believe should be included in their annual salary. Public concern has caused local government to assess if a reform is needed.

The Scottish Parliament’s local government committee convener, Bob Doris stated:

“The committee’s heard that in the last couple of years alone, £1m of additional payments has been made.

“So we’ll need to get additional information why those payments have been made, whether they’re justified, what work’s entailed to justify those payments and to dig beneath it and find out if they’re appropriate for future elections or not.”

Concern has been growing since May after it was released that chief executives could earn a bonus of up to half a million pounds, with £165,000 for the Edinburgh top official role and £160,000 for Glasgow.The UK Cabinet reassured the public that fees were kept under review and “statutorily independent from their normal employment”.

The Chief Executive for Glasgow, received a bonus of £33,238 for the Scottish 2016 election and £21,111 for the EU Referendum.

Chairwoman of the Electoral Management Board for Scotland, Mary Pitcaithly, stated:

“It would be wholly inconsistent with practice elsewhere if duties of the scale and the degree of responsibility and the civic importance of the returning officer role were to be not remunerated at all.”

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A spokesperson for the Electoral Reform Society will give evidence to the committee.

The society’s Scottish director Willie Sullivan said:

“I think there’s a root and branch look needed at why this system is throwing up these morbid symptoms of inequality in rewarding some people huge amounts more than what ordinary people get paid.”

The committee will consider all evidence before deciding if a reform is the next step forward for the Scottish government.

 

Womanhood and Donald Trump’s presidency

“Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” Donald Trump told voters during first presidential debate.

However, he has been accused of sexual assault from more than a dozen women – which Trump has denied, and he has threatened to sue them once the election is over, along with publications such NBC that have printed the allegations.

Trump has called them “sick” and “liars” who were only hungry for fame.

The brand new American President has also been widely condemned for making crude jokes about Hillary Clinton’s personal life, insulting his former rival Carly Fiorina’s looks, and joking it would be a “pretty picture” if Celebrity Apprentice contestant Brande Roderick was to “drop to her knees.”

Kathrine Razai and Jaine Haggie, strong opinionated feminists from Edinburgh, fear for women’s future with Trump as new U.S. President.

“He openly jokes about a woman’s ‘place’ – he has repeatedly stated that women should stay at home, look after the household and other old fashioned and hurtful stereotypes. After everything we (women) have fought for, we are going back in time.” said Kathrine.

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The election of Donald Trump is cause for concern for not only women, but the LGBT community, people of colour, and Muslims.

“His victory puts so many people in danger and encourages ever growing hatred. It promotes the idea that you can be accused of rape and sexual assault and still be a viable candidate to hold one of the most powerful positions in the world. It is an indication to young girls across the U.S. that no matter how hard they work, they will never be good enough and they will be objectified and criticised at all points throughout their lives,” added Jaine.

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society women’s right and equality, agrees that Trump’s victory is a massive backwards step for women and for equality. 

“Those who think misogyny played no part in the vote are kidding themselves. The fact that such a high percentage of white women voted for Trump also speaks volumes about internalised misogyny. Not only does Trump plan to build a wall, he had reinforced the glass ceiling.”

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 Most people think that this vote suggests that people either overlooked and underestimated Trump’s behaviour and beliefs, or thought it was OK. Both of these suggestions implies that women’s rights are in jeopardy. Women all over America now have to focus on defending their rights and freedoms.

 

 

 

 

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